Dreamer In Concert
Blue Note Records
Though New Jersey-born Stacey Kent has called London home for two decades, she maintains a special affection for France. The long-ago European trip that led her to her husband—saxophonist, arranger and producer Jim Tomlinson—and the emergence of her music career, began with her desire to study multiple languages, including French. She first recorded in French in 2007, covering two Serge Gainsbourg songs on Breakfast on the Morning Tram and, in 2009, returned with the entirely French Raconte-Moi. The following year she was named a knight in the French Order of Arts and Letters, one of the country’s highest artistic honors.
So it is understandable why Kent chose Paris, specifically the historic La Cigale theater, as the site of her first live recording. And it’s hardly surprising to discover that she sounds as warm and inviting onstage as she does in the studio. Much of the 13-track setlist will be familiar from her previous albums, including two French selections, “Ces Petit Riens” and “Jardin D’Hiver.” New to her repertoire is Jobim’s “Waters of March.”
Also added to her growing Brazilian playlist is the rippling “O Comboio,” composed by Tomlinson with words by poet Antonio Ladeira. Entirely new, too, is “Postcard Lovers,” crafted by Tomlinson with novelist and ardent Kent admirer Kazuo Ishiguro, who contributed lyrics to four songs on Breakfast. Tonally, it sounds quite similar to his “Ice Hotel” and might be considered its bookend. This time, rather than detailing the adventures of over-ardent paramours, it concerns exes, distanced by time and miles, who now communicate by perfunctory postcard messages.